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Shaping How Cities Grow In Healthy Ways

Dr. Richard Jackson
Dr. Richard Jackson

Noted scientist, public speaker and professor Dr. Richard Jackson will be visiting cities throughout Oregon this summer to address the relationship between human health and the environmental conditions we’ve created in our cities and suburbs. Jackson’s first stop in the 2012 Healthy Communities Speaker Series is Eugene’s downtown Public Library Tuesday, June 19. A reception with the speaker begins at 5 pm, followed by a lecture and discussion from 5:45 to 7 pm.

“It’s very exciting, very timely,” says Terri Harding of Eugene’s Planning Division. “He’s really bridging the fields of planning transportation and public health in a way,” she says, “that is kind of a call to action to us working on these things.” Harding acts as the event’s contact for those interested in more detail about the occasion. 

Jackson is also professor and chair within the School of Public Health at UCLA. He lectures on linkages between environmental conditions and human health — with an emphasis on the “built” environment being one such factor with a major influence on our health — and he has published books on the topic. 

He works in pursuit of changing policy to mirror conscious, health-centric lawmaking decisions. In California, his work contributed toward gaining legal rights for people exposed to pesticides.

In addition to city of Eugene, sponsors of this local event include Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth and PeaceHealth. State of Oregon sponsors are made up of the Education and Outreach Committee of the Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association, 1000 Friends of Oregon, Oregon Environmental Council and the Oregon Transportation and Growth Management Program. 

“It’s a very pertinent discussion to be having,” says Harding, “to shape how our cities grow in a way that is going to benefit our public health in the best way that we can.” 

Jackson is from California, where his research on biomonitoring chemical levels in community environments and his influential work in policy is receiving growing attention. 

To learn more about Jackson and the event, visit www.friends.org/DesigningHealthyCommunities or the Speaker Series’ Facebook Event page, “Designing Healthy Communities.”